Civil Rights Committee

The Civil Rights Committee addresses both civil rights and civil liberties matters. The Committee’s civil rights concerns include issues affecting racial, ethnic and religious minorities, the rights of people with disabilities, and the scope and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. The Committee’s civil liberties concerns include First Amendment and Due Process rights, as well as other constitutional protections against overreaching by state actors. The Committee on Civil Rights’ membership includes attorneys from state and local government agencies, law firms, not-for-profit organizations, and law school faculty.

The Civil Rights Committee believes in equality, equity, and human dignity in all contexts. In accordance with these values and the City Bar’s mission to support a fair society and public interest broadly, the Civil Rights Committee lends its voice, through reports, amicus briefs, events, and other advocacy, to a wide variety of civil rights issues impacting marginalized and vulnerable communities in New York and beyond. The committee’s work is driven by member interest and touches on a broad range of topics including racial justice, law enforcement reform, educational equity, social welfare, LGBTQ+ rights, immigrants’ rights, disability rights, religious rights, and civil liberties.

While we celebrate the many civil rights victories that have been achieved thanks to dedicated lawyers, the Civil Rights Committee recognizes that the legal system has often served to oppress certain members of society and to hinder social equality and democracy. As lawyers, we take seriously our responsibility to combat injustice and to advocate for a legal system that protects the dignity and wellbeing of all people.

The Civil Rights Committee recognizes the legal profession’s history of discrimination and exclusivity and strives to advance its goals with a collection of diverse voices along the axes of race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, income, language, professional experience, and other identities. Applicants should have a strong interest in civil rights, though they need not have experience working in civil rights to thrive in this member-driven space. Significantly, applicants should also value diversity and inclusion in all of their interactions—we strive to create a space where members can be collegial and collaborative. Members are expected to actively engage in the committee’s work and to regularly attend meetings. If you are interested in applying to join the Civil Rights Committee, please include a cover letter explaining your interest along with a resume. The online committee application form can be found here.

Related Resources

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Of Interest

Criminal Justice, Police Reform and Civil Rights section – addresses the intersection of criminal laws, policing and racial justice, and contains information regarding City Bar reports and programming on those subjects.

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